Medicine/Healing

When harm reduction expansion stifles activism: A lesson from Europe

In most of Western Europe, as across the world, drug users are still stigmatized, still criminalized, still marginalized, still considered second-class citizens. This will not change without user-led advocacy.

“Harm reduction interventions in the main in Western Europe are delivered either by national health services or by non-governmental agencies that focus on health interventions,” said Niamh Eastwood, executive director of Release, the UK’s center of expertise on drugs and drug laws. Harm reduction “has become more contained within the medical model … at the expense of funding for grassroots activism.” Europeans seem aware of the missing activism component. As early as 2006, the European Commission issued a paper emphasizing the need for more civic involvement in creating and implementing drug policy. A report by the Civil Society Forum on Drugs in 2018 admitted that when it comes to developing national drug strategies and action plans, “user groups are not only less prevalent in the member states than other types of [civil society organizations] but their level of involvement is also generally lower.”

Original Article (FilterMag):
When harm reduction expansion stifles activism: A lesson from Europe
Artwork Fair Use: Susan Slater 

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